The potential benefits of a mobile application for a parks and recreation organization should not be underestimated. While a website is an essential part of any organization’s online presence, a mobile app allows for a more interactive and personalized visitor experience. Mobile app users tend to have a higher level of engagement, as the app is easily accessible on their phone and used more frequently. In fact, mobile users spend 88% of their time on mobile apps and just 12% of the time on mobile websites. This increased engagement can lead to stronger brand loyalty and higher usage rates.
Acquiring mobile app users can be more expensive than acquiring web users, but mobile users are generally more valuable in the long run. This is because mobile apps provide a more personalized and convenient experience for users, leading to higher engagement and retention rates. While it may be tempting to prioritize acquiring web users, it's important to remember that investing in acquiring mobile app users can lead to a higher return on investment in the long term.
Why are engagement rates with a mobile app so much higher than they are with a website? The user experience for visitors is greatly improved through a native mobile application. A website accessed through a browser on a mobile device can often be clunky and difficult to navigate and often won't even load up if there is no coverage, leading to frustration for the visitor. A mobile app, on the other hand, is specifically designed for use on a phone and can provide a much cleaner and more intuitive experience.
The layout of a mobile app is typically more streamlined and easy to use, with features and functions easily accessible through clear menus and buttons. This makes it easier for the visitor to find the information they need and perform tasks such as tracking their progress or checking into a location.
In addition to the improved layout and navigation, a mobile app can also take advantage of the phone's various features and capabilities. This includes the use of GPS, push notifications, and in-app messaging, which can all enhance the user experience and provide a more personalized and interactive experience. Additionally, a mobile app can offer accessibility features such as VoiceOver and TalkBack, allowing for a more inclusive on-the-ground experience for visitors with disabilities.
Overall, the user experience for visitors is much improved through a native mobile application. The clean layout and intuitive navigation, along with the ability to utilize the phone's features, create a much more enjoyable and seamless experience for the visitor.
In addition to enhancing the visitor experience, the data collected through a mobile app can also be valuable for management and planning. GPS data, app interaction, and social feedback can all be used to make more accurate and data-driven decisions regarding the management and maintenance of parks and recreation assets.
Finally, to specifically address the value of a mobile app for outdoor recreation: when visiting a natural area or participating in outdoor activities, a mobile app allows for a more accessible, interactive, and safe experience. Visitors can easily access maps, trail information, and safety guidelines right from their phones. They can also use the app to track their progress and share their experiences with friends and family, all while taking advantage of the phone's GPS capabilities, phone, and other features to enhance their experience.
While a website is still an important aspect of any online presence, a mobile app allows for a more interactive and engaging experience for the visitor. The social aspect and data collected through a mobile app can also be valuable for management and planning. This is especially valuable for outdoor recreation, where a mobile app can enhance the accessibility, interactivity, and safety of the experience. If mobile isn’t part of your organization’s digital strategy, you’re missing out on an increasingly important part of the visitor journey.